Koocanusa Recreation Strategy

View the 2021 Koocanusa Recreation StrategyThe 2021 Strategy will be implemented and enforced beginning immediately.

Koocanusa Recreation Strategy 2021 thm

About the Recreation Strategy

The Strategy represents over five years of hard work and dedication from the Koocanusa Recreation Steering Committee, the Public Advisory Group, and the hundreds of local residents, recreation users, and other stakeholders who have contributed to the consultation process. Since 2014, over $1 million has been invested to improve enforcement, enhance signage and communications, improve waste management, complete recreation inventories, conduct assessments, and begin implementing management strategies in the Grasmere area, including establishment of parking areas, overnight camping areas, and designated recreation trails.

The draft Strategy identifies:

  1. Sensitive areas where recreation use and access should be managed to prevent impacts to important values;
  2. Undeveloped camping areas;
  3. A network of over 500 kilometres of roads for recreation use and access;
  4. Existing recreation trails for motorized and non-motorized users;
  5. Day-use areas that facilitate access to recreation trails and features;
  6. Locations where informational signage should be installed to enhance education and communications to recreation users;
  7. Areas where unsustainable recreation use has led to significant impacts, and where restoration efforts should be focused.

The 2021 Strategy represents the first phase of work and is a living document subject to change. During Phase One, Crown Land camping is permitted only in the designated sites and undeveloped camping areas, and motorized recreation is limited to the roads and trails identified on the maps and in the Koocanusa Recreation Strategy.

Phase Two is a longer-term process of conducting more detailed assessments of undeveloped camping areas, roads, trails, and day use access areas to determine suitability for future use.

Recreation Strategy: Camping & Motorized Vehicle Recreation

Camping in the Koocanusa?

Crown Land camping is only permitted in designated sites and undeveloped camping areas identified on the maps and in the Koocanusa Recreation Strategy. Undeveloped camping areas are rustic and dispersed camping areas with no facilities. Recreation users must be prepared and self-contained and are permitted to overnight camp for a period of up to 14 days in these areas. Access roads into these areas are unmaintained and may be impassable at any time. A four-wheel drive vehicle is strongly recommended on all identified roads in the Koocanusa area. Open undeveloped camping areas in the Koocanusa include: Sharptail, Strauss, Linklater, Rocky Road, Colvalli, Rock Creek, Kikomun Creek, Blue Bottom and Fussee. Detailed information, including photos and site descriptions, are provided within the Strategy.

The undeveloped camping areas are in addition to the 300+ public campsites already open at Kikomun Creek Provincial Park, and several recreation sites in the region: Wapiti Lake, North Star Lake, Suzanne Lake, Kikomun Creek, Loon Lake, Edwards Lake, Gold Creek Bay, Gold Creek and Englishman Creek. Two additional recreation sites are in the Grasmere area – Western Pine and Grasmere.

Riding the Kooc?

Motorized Recreation in the Koocanusa Recreation Management Area is limited to the roads and trails identified on the maps and in the Koocanusa Recreation Strategy.

View information and digital geo-referenced maps.

Recreation Strategy: Engagement & Survey Results

Thank you to everyone who took time to provide feedback to inform the updated Koocanusa Recreation Strategy, as part of our ongoing community engagement. In March, 2021, the Koocanusa Recreation Steering Committee presented its draft Strategy to the public and launched a month-long online survey and interactive map aimed at gathering feedback. There were 244 respondents. Parallel to the public engagement process, the KRSC also reached out directly to First Nations and affected stakeholders in the region.

What We Heard:

While the majority supported the draft Strategy (55%) there were a number of people who had concerns over certain aspects. Here is what we heard regarding specific recreation management strategies:

  • Sensitive Areas: The majority of responses (125 respondents or 51%) indicated that protecting sensitive areas, wildlife habitat, and environmental values through restrictions to motorized use and camping was the aspect they liked most about the draft Strategy.
  • Undeveloped Camping Areas: The majority of people who were opposed to the Strategy did not like the camping restrictions, with 88 survey responses (36% of all survey respondents) identifying this as the aspect they like least about the draft Strategy. Many people provided feedback identifying additional areas where undeveloped camping should be permitted, or recommendations to expand existing camping areas. Conversely, 26 respondents (11%) felt that the Strategy did not provide enough environmental protections and supported more restrictions on camping and recreation use.
  • Motorized Use and Access: Motorized use and access was an important reason why survey respondents did not support the Strategy, with 45 responses (18%) stating this as the aspect they like least about the draft Strategy. However, slightly more respondents (47 or 19%) viewed the restrictions favourably, stating it was the most liked aspect.
  • Enforcement: Particularly among those who support the Strategy, lack of enforcement was one of the aspects of the draft Strategy that survey respondents liked least with 42 respondents (17%) raising concerns about the BC Government’s abilities to enforce the Strategy.  


Koocanusa Recreation Steering Committee Partners

BC logoKtunaxa Nation.Regional District of East Kootenay.Columbia Basin Trust.